A passenger was forced to crash-land a single-engine Cessna Skyhawk near an old naval air base after the pilot of the craft suffered a fatal heart attack.
The plane was at an altitude of 2,500 feet Saturday when pilot Ronald Lange, 55, of Memphis, collapsed at the controls with his sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Eugene McClendon, on board.
“I knew that I couldn’t help Ron, and I knew that I was going to get that plane on the ground and get my wife out,” Eugene McClendon said Sunday. McClendon said he had been talking with Lange about how to fly a plane before the pilot collapsed.
McClendon, 51, a retired policeman, said he felt no fear despite having never flown a plane before.